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Stravinsky: Petrouchka, Firebird Suite / Maazel, Dutoit, Karajan

Release Date: 02/27/2001 
Label:  Dg Panorama Catalog #: 469205   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Tamás Vásáry
Conductor:  Lorin MaazelHerbert von KarajanIgor MarkevitchSir Neville Marriner,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony OrchestraBerlin Philharmonic OrchestraRussian State Symphony Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 33 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

DG's new Stravinsky compilation provides, despite some caveats, an excellent introduction to the composer's essential works at a bargain price. To begin with a caveat, Maazel's brutal Firebird (1919 version) does little to excite the imagination. It lacks poetry, the solo playing in the usually lovely Ronde des princesses is undistinguished, and he cuts the seven-bar andante section leading to the Berceuse.

Karajan's controversial Sacre has been much maligned, at least in the United States. The only possible reason is Stravinsky's criticism of Karajan's earlier recording. This one is a brilliant and vir-tuosic tour de force, a powerfully compelling vision of the score. No one captures the mind-numbing, relentless ritual of The
Read more Rite better than Karajan. Listen to the inexorable buildup to the end of Part I. He excels in details as well: He is the only conductor I know not to rush the "piu mosso" of the four horns' incantatory statement at figure 89. When the theme recurs in the "Mystic Circle of the Young Girls" at figure 91, Karajan correctly plays it at the same tempo, and incidentally at the tempo indicated by the composer (quarter note = 60).

Particularly poor playing hampers Markevitch's exultant Symphony of Psalms: There are several instances of excruciatingly bad intonation in the opening pages, and the choir is not much better. Yet this is one of those extraordinary recordings that rises above the sum of its parts and makes for an exhilarating listening experience. To hear it all, try the new Boulez recording with the Berlin Philharmonic, also on DG.

Marriner's is an enjoyable if not particularly inventive Pulcinella. Well recorded and well played, it lacks the suave phrasing of Abbado's London Symphony account and the edge of Klemperer's now ancient EMI classic. Equally good listening if not at the top of its class is Dutoit's colorful Petrouchka, immeasurably aided by Tamas Vasary's shimmering solo piano. Boulez's "Dumbarton Oaks" is about perfect: transparently clear, rhythmically vital, jazzy, and beautifully recorded. The same, happily, can be said for Karajan's Circus Polka.

-- Michael Fine, Fanfare [7/2001]
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Works on This Recording

Firebird Suite by Igor Stravinsky
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919/1945;   
Length: 20 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Le sacre du printemps by Igor Stravinsky
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911-1913 
Length: 34 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Symphony of Psalms by Igor Stravinsky
Conductor:  Igor Markevitch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian State Symphony Orchestra,  Russian State Academy Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930/1948; France 
Length: 18 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Pulcinella Suite by Igor Stravinsky
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1922/1947; France 
Length: 22 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Concerto in E flat major "Dumbarton Oaks" by Igor Stravinsky
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble InterContemporain
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938; France 
Length: 15 Minutes 12 Secs. 
Pétrouchka by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Tamás Vásáry (Piano)
Conductor:  Charles Dutoit
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Switzerland 
Length: 35 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Notes: This work was written in collaboration with Stravinsky, Igor
Composition written: Switzerland (1911).
Composition revised: 1947. 
Circus Polka by Igor Stravinsky
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942; USA 
Length: 3 Minutes 42 Secs. 

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